HAMILTON, Ontario–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Elements Casino Flamboro has locked out its unionized security officers in a brazen attempt to cut paid sick leave and weaken working conditions, the United Steelworkers union (USW) says. The casino imposed the lockout Thursday.
“This is a shameful attack on workers and families who are already suffering the effects of the pandemic,” said USW Ontario Director Marty Warren.
“This corporation is deliberately exploiting the upheaval caused by the pandemic. It is provoking a labour dispute to try to impose cuts to sick leave and other benefits on workers,” Warren said.
“This is just the latest example of the disastrous effects of the Ontario government’s privatization of casinos in the province.”
Elements Casino Flamboro is one of 11 Ontario casinos purchased by Great Canadian Gaming Corporation as part of the privatization scheme implemented by the provincial government in 2018.
Following Great Canadian Gaming Corporation’s takeover, security officers at the Flamboro casino decided they needed a union, voting to join the USW in March 2019. The security officers have been seeking to negotiate their first collective agreement ever since – for nearly two years – but have been met with demands for concessions from Great Canadian Gaming. The workers have not had a wage increase since 2018.
The security officers are setting up a picket line outside the Flamboro casino and the USW will provide all the support the locked-out workers need until they achieve a fair contract, Warren said.
“We are witnessing the outrageous consequences of casino privatization – greedy corporations trying to extract greater profits by cutting jobs and attacking the modest wages and benefits of workers,” he said.
“Our government, that is supposed to be ‘for the people,’ should stand up and defend these workers and their families. It should not support a business model that appears to be based on taking more and more money out of the community, at the expense of working families and the local economy.”
Given the Flamboro casino is temporarily closed due to pandemic-related restrictions, the company’s decision to lock out workers rather than seek to resume negotiations on a fair contract is particularly shameful, Warren said.
Meanwhile, the Ontario Labour Relations Board has scheduled a hearing for April 15 into an unfair labour practice complaint filed by the USW alleging the company illegally changed working conditions after the security officers joined the union.
Marty Warren, USW Director for Ontario and Atlantic Canada, 416-243-8792
Shannon Devine, USW Communications, 416-894-7118 (cell), email@example.com